Chapter 11 – War Is On
"Angel, Faith, Spike, join me outside, please." Buffy spoke to the other three in the group that had super strength; she then turned and walked out the front door of her house fully expecting the others to follow her. Once outside she spoke again.
"One of my father's friends has given me the means to destroy the First Evil's army of Turok-Han and Bringers, but I need you guys for backup, just in case. I need you to be ready for battle, tonight, because five minutes before midnight I am opening the seal that covers the mouth of hell and I am taking this fight to the First and putting an end to its threat to us once and for all.
"If any of you do not trust me enough or do not want to back me up, say so now." She looked each one in the eyes as she spoke and the replies that she got were exactly what she needed to hear.
"You know I'm with you, love; I'll back your play, whatever it is."
"Me too, slayer. Count me in."
"I'm with you too, B." Faith thought for a moment and then asked, "What about some of the others, can't some of them help?"
Without missing a beat, Buffy said, "No. They'll just be in the way.
"Caleb has something that belongs to me. I'm going to see what it is."
"You still believe he's hiding something at the vineyard?"
"I know he is. It's mine and I'm going to get it."
"Not without me you're not," Angel spoke up.
"Not without me, Buffy," Angel repeated himself more firmly this time.
"Okay, then, lets go."
Just as Buffy and Angel were about to leave, Faith asked, "What about the others? What do we tell them?"
"Nothing for now. I'll speak to them when I get back."
Forty-five minutes later Buffy and Angel were back and Buffy was carrying her shiny new scythe.
When they walked into the house, everyone noticed the weapon. "So," Giles asked, "is that what they were hiding at the vineyard?"
"Yeah. I think they were hiding it because they knew it was the only thing that would kill Caleb. I don't know everything it does, but I do know that it slices, dices and makes julienne preacher."
Willow realized what she meant. "Well all right. It's a powerful weapon, Buffy. I can feel the pull of its power from here."
"Don't touch it, Will," Buffy cautioned. "As I said, I don't know everything it does. I know that it's powerful, it had Caleb backing up like he was afraid of it; that's how I knew I could use it to kill him. It's very possible that its power could be addictive."
"Before you went to face Caleb, what were you guys talking about that the rest of us weren't involved in?" Xander wanted to know.
For a room that was noisy and filled with chatter a moment ago, it quickly became so quiet one could hear a pin drop as everyone waited for Buffy to reply to Xander's question.
"I am opening the seal tonight. I am facing the First's army head on and I didn't involve the rest of you in the discussion because you won't be involved in the fight. Period."
If Buffy expected an uproar, the group did not disappoint.
"WHAT?" "You can't be serious." "Buffy, are you sure you want to try this alone? We can help." "Let her go ahead and get herself killed; the sooner she's out of the way, the closer I'll be to becoming the next slayer."
Buffy waited for the noise to die down before she spoke.
"The decision was mine alone and it wasn't open for discussion. Or vote." There was venom in her voice when she spoke. "I am very serious and I won't be trying this alone; the three people that I asked outside will be joining me. While I was in LA, I was given the means to destroy the First's army. I asked the others along for backup in case I need it."
Wesley spoke softly. "I understand why you included the them; they all have superior strength, but why didn't you include Gunn and me and some of the others?"
"Gunn has a concussion; I didn't want to risk any further injury to him. And you will be needed here. It is obvious that Giles cannot handle these potential slayers by himself; besides there isn't a decent fighter among them."
She then turned to Kennedy and said, "Whether or not I am 'out of the way' has no bearing on your becoming a slayer. The slayer line runs through Faith, not through me. Besides, based on what I've seen, you won't last a week on your own."
She realized that her statement to Kennedy was a bit harsh, but she smirked inwardly and thought, 'She deserved it after that crack about my being out of the way.'
The two slayers and the two vampires met in Buffy's old room to discuss her plan for their confrontation with the First Evil's army.
The plan seemed too simple to be true.
"Gerenea, one of my father's friends, gave me a spell to use that will destroy anything associated with the First Evil, the Turok-Han, the bringers and anybody else that has willingly chosen to be evil. She insisted that I memorize it and gave me the power to perform it before I went to face Dawn. I want to make sure we all know the plan for tonight.
"The four of us will open the seal at 11:55, Angel and Spike will then go back above ground and will stop anyone or anything from entering the school. Gerenea said that the spell will specifically target any being associated with the First Evil, so you two should be okay. I don't want you downstairs though, I just don't want to take any chances.
"Faith, this is where you come in. The spell will take me about a minute; it is during this time that you and I will be most vulnerable, because as soon as the Turoks hear me chanting, they will try to stop me. They will be down in a large crater and will start climbing immediately. Gerenea let me see them and there are hundreds of them. Do not let their numbers frighten you; just concentrate on the ones coming out of the top of that crater."
"I'll be ready, B; you can count on it."
Buffy gave her a quick little smile. "I know.
"When it works, you should see a very bright light and hear a loud sound like thunder coming from inside the school. This thing is supposed to destroy everything evil that it touches.
"We need to verify that all of the evil beings have been destroyed. Either Faith and I can do that and then join you two outside or we can come upstairs as soon as I finish the spell, then when the light fades, we can all go back in to see the results."
"I say we go with option two. I need to know that you are all right," Angel said reaching for her hand. "When I see that light flash, I want to hear you coming up those stairs. If I don't, I'm coming down."
Spike and Faith agreed.
"Okay, we go with option two. As soon as the last word of the spell is out of my mouth, we head back up the stairs."
"We will be positioned at the top of the stairs to make sure that nothing comes down," Angel insisted.
Buffy started to protest but she knew it would be useless, so she nodded in agreement. "If everything goes as Gerenea said it would, we won't have to do any fighting, but bring weapons, just in case."
After all had agreed on the plan, Buffy told Faith and Spike that they would pick them up at eleven thirty; she and Angel then left her house and he headed the car toward the mansion.
"Let's go to your old apartment instead of the mansion," Buffy told Angel. "I need to relax for a couple of hours before we go to face the First; right now I am wound too tight to be as effective as I need to be to perform Gerenea's spell correctly."
"I haven't been back to the apartment since I left Sunnydale. It will not be in any condition for you to relax."
"It's fine. I still have the key that you gave me. I go there sometimes when I need to be alone or when I'm missing you so much I can't stand it anymore. It's probably cleaner than my house is right now."
Angel hardly recognized his apartment; Buffy had added additional lighting and color, carpeting and curtains and feminine touches here and there. It looked like a home instead of a rarely used apartment.
"I hope you don't mind. I was planning to move into here after the fight with the First was over. I knew that I wouldn't be able to stand it in that house much longer; I had to get out."
Angel took her in his arms. "What you've done with this apartment is amazing. I'm happy that you felt comfortable enough to stay here. Where did you get the money for this? I know it must have been difficult after your mother died."
"Everything except the carpeting came from the mansion. Angel, most of those rooms are beautifully furnished. Did you ever remove any of the dust covers and check out the furniture?"
"No. I toured the place when I first move in, but after that I confined myself to the first floor."
"We'll talk about it later; right now I need to crash."
Angel took the scythe from her, placed it under the edge of the bed and folded back the bed covering; he then picked Buffy up and carried her to the bed. He removed her shoes and socks, shirt and jeans and covered her with the comforter that was on the bed. "Sleep," he told her; "I'll wake you just before it's time for us to leave."
"Angel, would you just hold me until I fall asleep?"
Angel's heart swelled with joy at Buffy's request. He removed his jacket and shoes and got on the bed with her; he gathered her in his arms and let her get comfortable. He kissed her on the top of her head and said, "Sleep, love; I'll wake you when it's time."
Buffy fell asleep almost immediately.
At exactly eleven-thirty Angel pulled his car up to the curb in front of Buffy's house; Faith and Spike were already sitting on the steps fully armed and waiting for them. They got into the car and Angel pulled off.
Buffy turned around so that she was facing the two passengers in the back seat. "Are you ready for this?"
"Ready." "Ready!" came the replies.
They rode the rest of the way in silence.
Angel parked the car in front of the school. Before they got out, Buffy asked, "Does anyone feel vampires, demons or anything evil within the vicinity of the school?"
No one did. All they felt was a concentration of evil within the school itself.
The four got out of the car and approached the school. They were surprised to find the doors unlocked, but no one said anything. Each one of them was on high alert, expecting an attack at any moment. None came so they proceeded to open the seal that lead to the mouth of hell.
"Here, take this," Buffy said, handing the scythe to Faith who passed her sword to Spike.
Once that was done Buffy signaled for the vampires to return to the upstairs as she and Faith positioned themselves and she closed her eyes and started to chant. Seeing the huge cavern and the volume of Turok-Han, Angel and Spike didn't move.
This time Faith signaled for them to leave, but they stood their ground as Buffy continued to chant. Half a dozen of the ancient vampires reached the top of the cavern before Buffy finished, but Faith, Angel and Spike were ready for them. At least a dozen others were near the top as the chant ended and a light as bright as the noon-day sun surrounded them and a thunderous roar filled the cavern.
"Let's get out of here," Faith yelled and Buffy turned to see Angel and Spike nearby.
"Move," she yelled as the four of them headed up the stairs.
Once they were outside Angel and Spike sat down on the ground.
"What is the matter with you? Why didn't you stick to the plan? What did that spell do to you?" Buffy was so scared that they had been harmed.
"B, calm down," Faith told her; "they're trying to breathe."
"Bugger that," Spike said gasping for breath.
When they were breathing normally, Angel stood up. "It looks like your friend's spell worked in ways you didn't expect. It killed all of the evil it touched, including the demons within Spike and me."
Buffy and Faith stood there with their mouths open not knowing what to say until Buffy launched herself at Angel.
"Good thing we still have our strength," Spike told Faith, "otherwise she would've killed him."
The other couple didn't respond; they were too busy kissing.
When it looked like they weren't going to stop any time soon, Faith tapped Buffy on the shoulder and asked, "Can you two come up for air long enough for us to verify that the spell killed everything downstairs?"
"Oh," Buffy turned with an unrepentant grin on her face, "okay."
When the four of them reached the basement of the high school, what they found was not what they expected. Not only were all of the vampires gone, so was the seal.
Spike was the first to speak. "I guess this means that this hellmouth is closed for good."
"I guess Sunnydale can now be the peaceful little town it was meant to be," was Faith's assessment.
"Yeah, a nice peaceful little town where couples get married and raise a big family without concerns about vampires and demons coming after them," Angel said smiling and looking into Buffy's eyes as he leaned in to give her another kiss.
"Aww boy, here we go again." Spike groaned. "Will you two come on? Let's get back to the house. I'm starving."
Back at the Summers' house everyone was still awake, waiting for news of the confrontation with the First.
"Was that thunder," Willow asked of no one in particular; "was it suppose to rain tonight?"
Giles pulled back the draperies and looked out. "The night sky is completely clear and full of stars and it doesn't smell like rain is near."
"Maybe that sound came from the high school," Anya offered; "maybe that's Buffy's spell working."
"That would have to be some spell." This came from Willow.
"I just hope they're all alright." Cordelia's concern showed in her voice.
Half an hour after the spell was completed, Angel again pulled his 1968 Plymouth GTX up in front of the Summers' house.
A/N: I don't know for sure if that is the correct make and model of Angel's car.
"They're here," Cordelia yelled excitedly as she rushed to open the door.
Four humans entered the house and were bombarded with questions before they could say anything.
Completely ignoring everyone in the house, Spike proceeded to the kitchen looking for food.
"We'll explain after we get these guys some food," Faith told them as she followed Spike.
"The spell worked," was all Buffy said as she and Angel followed the others into the kitchen.
"Food?" Cordelia yelled as she headed for the kitchen. "Why do they need food?"
Angel looked over his shoulder with a little smirk and followed Buffy.
Understanding what that meant, Wesley, as well as a few of the others headed for the kitchen.
By this time Angel and Spike were sitting at the kitchen table and Buffy and Faith were making sandwiches while water boiled for tea.
"The dead boys are now human?" Xander asked.
"DUH!" Cordy answered with a frown as she shook her head and lifted her eyes toward the ceiling.
Rapid fire questions really came then.
Buffy repeated herself. "The spell worked. And like Faith told you, we'll explain everything after we get these guys some food."
By the time everyone was back in the living room, the mood in the house had changed considerably. After the explanations were done and all questions answered, Giles spoke up. "That was quite a risk that the two of you took; you didn't know what that spell would do to you."
"No, we didn't," Angel told Giles, "but there was no way I was letting Buffy and Faith face that mob alone."
"Neither was I," Spike chimed in, "besides I couldn't let my sire be the only martyr."
"Martyr, nothing," Faith told him; "you were as scared as the rest of us."
They stayed up for another hour or so until little by little the group thinned out as people left to go to bed, especially the younger potentials.
Giles asked for Wesley's help in finding homes and watchers for the remaining potential slayers. Wesley agreed.
Cordelia turned to Gunn and said, "I guess that means we're out of a job."
Before Gunn could reply, Angel asked, "Why is that? Unless you guys don't want to live in Sunnydale, because I plan to relocate and open AI here."
Wesley, Cordelia and Gunn looked at each other and agreed; "We're in." Wesley spoke for the three of them.
By now Buffy was asleep in Angel's lap while Faith and Spike had unknowingly fallen asleep leaning against each other.
"I'm taking Buffy home to put her to bed. Wes, Cordy, Gunn, there's room for you as well," Angel told them as he rose to leave.
"What about those two?" Xander asked looking at Spike and Faith.
"Just throw a blanket over them," Willow told him; "they'll be fine."
When Wesley noticed that they were headed away from the mansion, he asked Angel, "Aren't we staying at the mansion tonight?"
"No we're staying at Buffy's apartment."
Cordelia was confused. "Buffy has an apartment?"
"Actually, it's my old apartment, but I'm sure she won't mind, there is enough room for all of us. Speaking of room, there are other apartments in the building, if you guys are interested."
"How do you know that they're available?"
"It's my building."
"You own an apartment building?" Cordelia could see dollar signs in front of her eyes.
Wesley touched her hand and shook his head. Cordy huffed, but didn't say another word.
The next day everyone slept late; Buffy slept later than anyone else. She awoke to the smell of food and found Angel in the kitchen. The rest of the AI team was exploring the apartment building deciding on how they wanted their boss to redecorate it for them.
Buffy and Angel moved into his/her apartment until renovation of the first two floors of the mansion was completed. They then got married and moved into the mansion and planned to start a family as soon as the renovation was complete.
Spike and Faith became a couple, big surprise there, and they moved in together into the apartment that Buffy and Angel vacated.
Cordelia, Wesley and Gunn continued working for Angel at the new Angel Investigations. Cordelia no longer got visions, something she was quite happy about.
When Kennedy was placed with a watcher near her home, she asked Willow to join her. Willow accepted and completed her college education on the east coast.
Their second attempt at getting married was successful for Xander and Anya. Xander continued working in construction; Anya continued at the Magic Shop until their first child was born.
Giles and Wesley placed the potentials as near their home towns as possible. Rona was the only potential that had not been placed with a watcher and so Giles and Wesley became her joint watchers by default. After getting to know her, Gunn sort of adopted her as his baby sister because she reminded him so much of his sister Alonna. With this arrangement, Rona blossomed. She was diligent and respectful and readily followed orders from her watchers. With Buffy and Faith, Angel and Spike around, she always had excellent sparring partners and she was a good slayer once she was called.
Members of the Scooby gang were never able to return to the level of friendship and trust that they once shared; however, they do share news of major life events via e-mail.